My introduction to Green Goddess dressing will remain a treasured memory. Rewind six months to my first meal at Pizzaiolo in Oakland (review coming soonish!) Being new to the place, I happily let my friend Naushon, who'd eaten there many times, take the reins. Among the dishes she chose was a delicious salad of little gem lettuces from nearby Blue Heron Farm topped with pickled golden, chiogga and purple beets, slices of armenian cucumber, and Green Goddess dressing.
It was love at first bite. I found myself instantly addicted to the stuff. As any addict would, I tried to get a second "fix" by recreating the salad at home a few days later. The end result was quite good but also very different. I had used a recipe for the original Green Goddess dressing (see below) which is fairly different from the version Alice Waters pioneered at Chez Panisse. And since Pizzaiolo's chef and owner, Charlie Hallowell, was Chez Panisse's pizza chef for eight years before he opened his own restaurant, it's quite likely he uses the Waters version of the dressing.
Green Goddess dressing was invented in the 1920's at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in honor of William Archer's hit play, The Green Goddess. The original recipe calls for mayonnaise, tarragon and anchovies (among other things). The Alice Waters/Chez Panisse version relies heavily on tarragon but includes avocado and leaves out the mayo and anchovies. See below for both recipes.
Palace Hotel Green Goddess Dressing
Makes 2 cups
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or minced scallions
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended (or if you prefer your dressing creamier, throw it all into a food processor or blender and pulse for 30 seconds.)
2. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
3. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.
Chez Panisse Green Goddess Dressing (as printed in Food & Wine magazine)
Makes 1 1/2 cups
• 1 small shallot, minced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature, pasteurized (optional)
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 ripe avocado
• 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
• 1 tablespoon chopped basil
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
• 1 tablespoon chopped chives
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a small bowl, combine the shallot with the garlic, vinegar and lemon and lime juices. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the yolk with a whisk.
3. Gradually add half of the olive oil in a thin drizzle to the yolk, whisking constantly.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid from the shallot mixture, then whisk the yolk mixture into the remaining olive oil.
5. Add the avocado and mash it in with a fork.
6. Whisk in the remaining shallot mixture and the herbs, and season with salt and pepper.